ISEEN was initially founded in 2005 under the name "ISAN," standing for the Independent Schools Adventure Network. ISAN was formed as a place for outdoor and adventure education program directors to gather once a year, at a host school, to share ideas, celebrate successes and lessons learned, and to meet colleagues from around the country who spoke a common language and could provide, for some, what became their one "department" meeting of the year.
After three years as a specialized group it became clear that the focus of many of our jobs and roles at our schools were evolving. As the wave of global education, sustainability, and service learning programs were sweeping our schools, many outdoor and adventure education directors were being asked to take a leadership role in the design and management of these new programs. It was apparent that our organization had naturally morphed into one of a broader reach, and so in 2008 ISAN was changed to ISEEN , the Independent Schools Experiential Education Network. Since then, ISEEN has grown to support the networking, idea sharing, and collegiality of experiential educators from over two hundred independent schools across the United States, Canada, Europe, South Korea, Hong Kong, and South Africa. The annual January institute provides a venue for both nuts and bolts discussions amongst specialty groups and broad based experiential education presentations. In June, 2015 a summer institute for classroom teachers was debuted to help broaden the understanding and application of experiential education within our colleagues and schools. A membership initiative was launched in 2014 and over one hundred independent schools are now ISEEN members.
A registered non-profit since 2012, ISEEN is staffed by an Executive Director and an Operations Director and managed by a board of directors. ISEEN has gained prominence and respect within the independent school community, has over one thousand experiential educators and administrators on its distribution list, and was listed by Pat Basset, retired President of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), as one of his Top 10 Innovations at the 2012 NAIS Annual Conference. The Spring 2013 issue of NAIS' Independent School Magazine was devoted to experiential education after the editor attended a January Institute.